4 March 2018

Kenya: Birgen Wins Kenya's Lone Medal At Indoor Event

Bethwell Birgen saved Kenya some blushes when he won bronze in the men's 3,000m as the World Indoor Championships came to a close on Sunday in Birmingham, Great Britain.

Birgen clocked 8 minutes and 15.70 seconds to claim bronze as Yomif Kejelcha retained his title in 8:14.41; guiding World Under-20 5,000m champion Selemon Barega to an Ethiopian 1-2 finish.

Barega, who is also the World Under-18 3,000m champion, timed 8:15.59 in a race where Kenya's other representative Davis Kiplangat settled for seventh place in 8:18.03.

It was Kenya's only medal at the championships after hopes of winning the men's 1,500m went up in smoke, when Victor Kibet finished ninth and last in 4:02.32, as Ethiopian Samuel Tefera claimed victory to hand the country its fourth gold medal.

Tefera took control of the race at half way, and although Abdelaati Iguidier tried to wrestle control, the Ethiopian was able to move back to the lead round the final curve to wrap up another win for his country.

The Ethiopians swept the middle and long distance events this week, taking each of the 1500m and 3,000m titles on both the men's and women's side.

Polish Mercin Lewandowski moved late to pip Iguider to second place in 3:58.39 with the Moroccan got bronze in 3:58.43.

On Saturday, Kenyans and the world once again failed to halt the high-flying Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba from sealing a double, when she reclaimed the 1,500m title, the crown she won last in 2012 in Istanbul in 4:05.27.

Dibaba had on the championships' opening day Thursday, sealed her third consecutive 3,000m title, beating the 2012 champion Kenya's Hellen Obiri.

Kenyans Winny Chebet and steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech finished in disappointing fifth and seventh places timing 4:12.08 and 4:13.59 respectively in the 1,500m final.

Defending champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, silver medallist in the 3000m, settled for bronze in 4:07.26, losing her battle for silver to home athlete Laura Muir 4:06.23.

Francine Niyonsaba gave Burundi its second World Indoor title, when she blasted to victory in a world leading time of 1:58.31 to retain women's 800m title.

For the second time, the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 London World Championships outdoor 800m silver medallist, slayed American Ajee Wilson to second place in a personal best of 1:58.99, as home athlete Shelayna Oskan-Clarke surprised many with bronze also in personal best 1:59.81.

Kenya's hopes for a medal in the 800m were dashed, when Margaret Nyairera was disqualified in the heats, as Winny Chebet failed in her bid to qualify from the heats.


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